FANTASY & SCI-FI ARTIST IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS
84 PAGE MEGA-ISSUE
SERGIO MARTINEZ | XURGE
CHRISTIAN HECKER | TIGEAR
VUE ● TERRAGEN ● POSER ● MOJOWORLD ● CARRARA ● DAZ STUDIO ● CINEMA 4D ● 3DS MAX ● ZBRUSH ● LUMION
JOIN UP CLICK HERE
HOW TO SCULPT YOUR DRAGON
5th—6th JULY 2014 PART ONE Essential Anatomy and Step-by-Step Sculpting, online with John Haverkamp. Learn to create the most popular mythical creature in ZBrush.
FOR INTERMEDIATE USERS
DOWNLOAD our recorded webinars and conferences, including the complete recording of the first-ever Poser user conference! http://3dartlive.com/recorded-webinars/
The world's first Poser conference! Eleven recorded webinars. Talented Poser presenters. Over 14 hours of rich tutorial content: Materials Room Mastery. Rigging Masterclass. Poser Rigging. Reality 3 for Poser. Inside Dynamic Clothing. Painting the Dome. ZBrush / Poser Masterclass. UV mapping masterclass "Telling the story" with Poser. Turning On the Lights. The History of Poser.
HOW TO MODEL IN HEXAGON
Get alerted for new LIVE webinars, that have LIMITED availability. Receive our newsletter that includes discount codes and free training tips from our webinar hosts PLUS get a free 3D ART ELITE magazine! SIGN UP HERE.
Join our mailing list to get a free magazine speeding to your inbox.
Complete access to all our magazine back issues, for just $25.
Join our live webinar-based workshops for 3D digital artists.
Our monthly fresh inspiration for 3D artists, available on iTunes.
Subscribe to the Podcast feed.
Editor & Conference Director
Assistant Editor and Layout
Copyright ÂŠ 2014 3D Art Direct. Published in the United Kingdom. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. No copyright claim is made by the publisher regarding any artworks made by the artists featured in this magazine.
Credits for backgrounds, opposite page, from top left: Tigaer; Nacho Riesco; George Krallis; Commorancy.
to the new-look magazine
If change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial, doesn't logic demand that you be a part of it?” Star Trek’s Captain Kirk talking to Spock from “Mirror, Mirror”
I’m very pleased to introduce you to our change and new look for the 3D Art Direct magazine. With a cleaner, fresher look and a tighter consistency in the design throughout, we still wish to maintain the focus on what we do best. It’s all about sharing the stories of creativity through our in-depth interviews with some amazing artists and content creators, straight from the genres of science fiction and fantasy art. As you read these narratives, we very much hope that you gain inspiration from the passion and hard won battles that you’ll learn from these interviews, and most of all we hope that muse leads to action in creating your own amazing artwork. As Kirk mentions in the quote above, we would love you to be a part of that change and be along for the ride. This special double issue incorporates Sergio Martinez, creating exquisite fantasy and sci-fi outfits, George Krallis generating breath-taking landscapes with Vue, Nacho Riesco on his
ZBrush creature creations, Christian Hecker on what continues to motivate his high standard work as part of the Luminarium art group and James Webb weaving outstanding fractal worlds with the classic Mojoworld. We still wish to reserve space in our pages for up and coming artists as they learn their craft. Everyone has a story to tell and some of the best narratives are born out of those experiences of climbing those steep learning curves. Contact us if you’d like to see a particular sci-fi or fantasy artist featured that you believe fits this bracket. Finally I would like to thank Mickey Mills, my former assistant editor who has very much kept the inertia of the magazine going—he’s now moving onto new pastures. I would like to warmly welcome David Haden and Christie Knox who join the 3D Art team and are helping to promote these accomplished artists. PAUL BUSSEY Editor and Conference Director firstname.lastname@example.org
3d Art Direct talks 3d
Basking in the Greek sunlight, George makes amazing landscapes with Vue and Photoshop.
3d Art Direct catches up
tailoring with ‘Xurge’, maker of the finest quality character suits. DAZ | POSER
DAZ | VUE | 3DS MAX
DAZ | VUE
with ‘Tigaer’, a great artist we last interviewed way back in issue 15.
Front Cover: "Sky High" (2011) by Tigaer. Vue and Photoshop. See our interview with Tigaer in this issuu.
BACK ISSUES INDEX
3d Art Direct talks to Nacho about his witty ZBrush creature sculpts, and his love of fractals.
Fractal sci-fi landscapes from a leading crafter of generative planet scenes in MojoWorld.
A complete artist index to previous issues of the 3d Art Direct magazine.
ZBRUSH | MANDELBULB
Main picture: Render by Brian (Commorancy at Flickr) using Daz Studio + 3Delight + Xurge3D’s EX0 Cyber Suit for V4. Creative Commons. Right: Xurge3D’s Fantasy Ranger for V4; Flexxsuit for V4.2; Imperator for M4; Reflex Nanosuit for M4.
SERGIO MARTINEZ FLORIDA, USA DAZ | POSER | PS UNFOLD 3D
3DArtLive.com interviews Sergio Martinez, the owner of Xurge3D.com and the master armourer for your Poser and DAZ 3D art Sergio Martinez from Xurge3D creates custom outfits for Poser. As a content creator for Poser, Sergio has been in the businesses for over six years, starting out with Poser 4 back in 1999. His specialisation is in fantasy and sci-fi outfits, which fits right in with 3D Art’s direct coverage of the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the 3D digital arts world.
started to evolve and online stores started showing up. DAZ immediately had a store, and Renderosity, and RuntimeDNA and it all became a very marketable little hobby. We were still creating things for Poser and sharing them with the community, but now we were able to make a bit of a kickback on it. So that was good motivation.
3DAD: Welcome, Sergio, to 3D Art at 3DArtLive.com.
We had another reason to do it now, not only were we having fun, but we can now make a little bit of money that kind of funded the hobby itself. So that’s kind of how I got into it and having a big passion for science fiction movies and characters and fantasy art, fantasy movies and things like that. I always loved creating armour, so that’s basically what got me really into it. Poser gave me the human standing there, and I could just try to build it into whatever character I wanted. And that’s basically the way I got started, just playing around and eventually it ended up becoming a business.
Sergio: Thank you. Thank you, Paul. Great to be here.
3DAD: Now to start with, I thought I’d ask you, what got you into the creation of clothing content. Did you see what was on the market at the time and think, I can do better? Sergio: Many, many years ago when I started doing this, I mainly started out as a hobby. I started doing this before there was even a market for it. There were no stores to sell this stuff at, it was just a bunch of enthusiasts that we were just happy using Poser. This was back in the days of Poser 3. And just using Poser and having a good time creating little props here and there. And the more we learned, the more ambitious we got and we just kept going and it got to the point that the things that we were creating started to gain a lot of interest. And a lot of people started getting motivated and pushing us and saying, “Hey all you guys that are doing all this stuff, could you do some of this stuff for payment?” Then all of a sudden a market
3DAD: I was going to ask you, actually, because I did notice a lot of armour in your store and I was thinking I bet you’re influenced by that medieval period, the sort of the armour and styling and the detail of the different types of armour that come from that period. If there was a period of history that you’d like to go back in time to and check out the design of clothing in detail, would it be the medieval or something else? Sergio: It would be. It would be sometime where clothing was still very stylish, and the armour being worn was better crafted. 9
The armour stated the type of warrior you were. If you were a known warrior, you had really beautiful golden armour, and all the accessories. If you were just a lowly soldier, you just got a couple of scraps of metal thrown on top of you! So that, I love all the medieval types of armour that you would see on the battlefield. It would be very interesting to see and watch in action.
Where they’ve thought, “yeah, we could use this in our comic book or our film!”. Sergio: I don’t think they have, because I don’t market them outside of the Poser industry. Although I’ve done some products for films and for video games and things like that, but they have been sub-contracted away from the Poser industry completely. But I don’t get involved with projects like that too often. First of all, it takes away the freedom that I have because a lot of times they give you a drawing already, or they tell you specifically what you have to create and you have to stick to those. You can’t have any of your own input. Even if you want to. You do it, they’ll tell you “take that off, we don’t like it” or “we don’t want it”, or “that’s not part of the character”. So, you lose a lot of freedom when you go sub-contracted like that into a project. Sometimes it’s great because it is very profitable. But it’s not, for me.
3DAD: So, I imagine you’ve had background or interesting clothing anyway, and fashion design. Perhaps, even before you started messing around in Poser? Sergio: When I went to school, I went to school for graphic design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in the USA, and there they had a big fashion design section and I always loved it. I was already doing something else, but I always went to the fashion shows and I even got involved with some of the designers there to help them out and work with them. Because I was already doing some 3D, to do some 3D creations for them and help them out with their student presentations. So that’s always been very exciting, to create clothing and see how an idea you have for an outfit ends up on the human body and what it looks like and how it should evolve.
I like to be able to sit in front of the computer and come up with my own idea, implement it, see how it works out and then put it in my store. Luckily, I’ve been pretty lucky that so far, most of my customers like what I do, so I’ve been pretty luck so far. There are outfits that sell more than others, so it’s kind of tough, but, yeah, outside of the Poser industry, there are a lot of people using my products for comic books, and for commercial illustration and things like that,
3DAD: And have some of your designs been noticed by other designers. Say, people in the film industry or something like that?
but nothing big like any big movie or anything like that. I haven’t marketed my work into that industry. 3DAD: Have you seen them used in say, book covers, or something like that, where somebody has taken Poser and used it as a tool to create book covers? Sergio: Yes, I have. I actually been to, this happened about three years ago, I was in Barnes & Noble bookstore. I was looking for a book, and noticed something on a book cover and I grabbed it and said “Oh my god, is this...?” It was combined with other things, but the main armour being worn by the hero in this romance novel was wearing one of my outfits, so that was kind of interesting. I contacted the person that did the artwork and they said, “yeah, it’s your product”. And they’d been using it in a lot of books, so there’s quite a few people using my artwork for book covers. There’s quite a few other guys using it for role playing games, card games, to create the character sheets and the cards and creating those games. There’s a lot of them using it for that also. So it’s really nice to see it all the time, popping here and there. 3DAD: Very gratifying to see. Especially unexpectedly when walking through a bookstore! It must be the dream of many Poser artists or content creators, to see that. Sergio: Yeah! 3DAD: As you started out creating custom outfits and bringing them to market, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you had to overcome? Sergio: Well if you want to put something out there free, it doesn’t matter. Whoever downloads it, if they like it, good, or they don’t. But when you’re doing something that
you’re expecting somebody to pay for, it has to work. It has to work properly. So, some of the biggest challenges were definitely getting everything, learning every little detail and there’s some things that I wasn’t train in this directly, so a lot of the things I just did whatever I could. Like, for example, one of my biggest weaknesses, at the beginning was texturing. I could knock out any 3D model, but my models started to be too polygon intensive, trying to create all the detail in the 3D model because I lacked the capability of doing it on a textural level. So, and that’s one of the roadblocks that I came into and I decided I need training and that’s what I did. I found someone who gives online classes and they instructed me. This was a bunch of years ago. They were doing video games and I asked them if they were willing to do some tutoring over the Internet, and I hired him. And he taught me what he was doing, he showed me how to texture. How to use Photoshop properly to create the textures and it was one of the best investments ever. The first thing he taught me, he said you have to do proper UV’s in order to be able to get your textures proper, and then from there on he just showed me everything in Photoshop that I had no idea was there. And after that, my products went from, well, it was like day and night! The last product I did before learning all this was really nice, but then when I learned all this new stuff, the product was spectacular. So that’s the most important thing to know. If you hit a roadblock, just go out there and look for a solution. If you can’t find one, find training. There’s training for pretty much anything in this field, from modeling to texturing to anything. So, find training and get yourself there. Anybody doing this can teach you something, so if you can learn a little thing from here, a little thing from there, that’s basically what I’ve pretty much done every
“My best sellers are Michael 4 clothing. I don’t go with the logic that male stuff doesn’t sell.”
Render by Brian (Commorancy at Flickr) using Daz Studio + 3Delight + Xurge3D’s EX0 Reflex Nanosuit for M4. Creative Commons. 12
time I hit a roadblock, I look for training. If I can read it online, or find somebody, if I find a tutorial that I can purchase, I do it. And go from there.
3DAD: Yeah, that’s interesting isn’t it? That Genesis has opened up the old characters again in DAZ, and that must have done the same for other content providers as well.
3DAD: That dovetails nicely into you doing our 3D Direct webinar, just going through all of the steps of how you create content and some great tips and tricks, in the latest version of Poser Pro. Readers can check the 3DArtLive.com for our webinars.
Sergio: Yeah, exactly. And now that the new Poser Pro 2014 is coming out with the Fitting Room, you’ll be able to take all those outfits that were made ten years ago and put them in whatever character you want now. So that will open up the doors again for pretty much all the content that we’ve done over the years. It won’t dispensed with, it’ll keep being used by everyone.
3DAD: You cater for about 13 character bases from Poser and DAZ 3D, with your store content. What Poser character continues to attract the most sales for you, and are some of earlier characters still attracting some attention from your customers? Are you surprised to see some of the early characters still selling? Sergio: Yes, about a couple of years ago I was thinking of streamlining my store and taking away the older products that had been there for five, six, seven years. But I went back to my sales figures, and saw those products were still selling. So, it didn’t really cost any money to have them there, so I figured I’ll leave them there and it was a good choice because they were still selling once in a while and now that, for example, DAZ 3D with their new Genesis platform, they implemented all of the old shapes. All the old Victoria 3 and Michael 3, they brought all that back into Genesis.
So all of those products that were old, all of a sudden they became new. I said, “Wait a minute, why is all of this Victoria 3 stuff and Michael 3 stuff selling all of a sudden again?” And I realized “Oh, because this is what’s going on, they can now be used again on a new figure”. So a lot of people were getting that benefit. I just develop now for the newer characters, but the old ones all still sell and still work.
3DAD: That’s quite an amazing feature in Poser. A lot of software will just improve and soldier on and older components or conformities from the past will just be chopped off, they’ll just be dropped off and the software vendor will just kind of forget what happened seven, eight, nine years ago. But this is really interesting that they’re opening the doors again to what happened all that time ago. Sergio: Exactly, yeah. And when you ask about which character is the one that attracts the most sales, it’s kind of interesting because most of the communities
you go to, they mention that male clothing doesn’t sell as well as the female clothing. Well in my case, it’s completely opposite. I mean, I’m not going to say that my Victoria clothing doesn’t sell well. I mean, it sells wonderful. But, my Michael outfits sell better than the Victoria outfits. Anything I do for Michael 4 sells much better than Victoria, so it’s not about whether one gender sells. My best sellers are Michael 4 clothing. I don’t go with the logic that male stuff doesn’t sell.
the ends it just slips off and falls onto the floor. It’s kind of the same physics. You put something over a character and it will flow down, and it will hit the neck and the shoulders, and it just kind of dynamically falls over your character without going through the body. That is basically what the dynamic clothing is, and it is being used in the dynamic room and the Clothing Room in Poser. That’s where you’ll be able to do your dynamic calculations and all of that and get the clothing to work. The only drawback on dynamics is that they take long. You have to do the whole calculation every time. It can give you some great realistic effects, but it takes a long time. The more basic conforming clothing is not as realistic, but it does follow your character instantly. You don’t have to wait for it. It just flows with the character. So for more realism, you can use dynamics, or you can mix conforming and dynamics — but that gets a little bit confusing!
3DAD: Now, all of your clothing is designed to be conforming clothing. For those just starting out with Poser, what is conforming clothing and what are its advantages? Sergio: Conforming is a property that Poser has had since version 4. It allows you to create a clothing item that has the same skeleton system that the figure you make it for. So if I make a clothing for Michael 4 for example, the outfit will have the same skeletal system that Michael 4 has. So conforming is the process that Poser uses to take this clothing, layer it on the figure, and since the bones correspond to each other, when you move their character now the clothing follows. That’s basically what conforming clothing is.
3DAD: It will be interesting to see if the latest, new version of Poser will improve speed on dynamic clothing. Sergio: It does. They have already shown some nice examples. The new Poser also brings in a whole new dynamic engine. 3DAD: Many of your clothing items include two great features. Firstly each has been textured carefully to match the style of the outfit. Secondly each of the conforming parts has flat mapping, with no stretching, allowing someone to explore their own texturing ideas with that clothing. So tell us a little more about these features, because pretty much every single one of your products sports these two features.
3DAD: Now, there’s also the term ‘dynamic clothing’. What’s the difference between dynamic clothing and conforming clothing? Sergio: Dynamic uses kind of a ‘physics’ approach to clothing. Basically you create an entire garment that is one item, and it just overlays over the human figure. Then Poser uses a calculation for the draping, and this allows the clothing to actually fall on the character. Like when you lay a sheet over a bed or over a table, and at
Sergio: Mm-hmm, yes they do. The first one, I texture carefully to match the style of the outfit. This is something that is very
important. Usually when I create an outfit, I want it to look like it was put together for that character. He didn’t run around a flea market and pick up a t-shirt here and a thing here and a thing there. I try to create an outfit that was made on purpose for the character. So, when I say that it was textured carefully to match the style, it means that every part of the outfit is carefully looked at and the scale of all the trims and things, it will be very balanced across the outfit so that the outfit looks proper and it looks correct when you look at it. For example the skirt, if I put some trims on the shirt, well that pattern used for the trims is going to follow through on another skirt part or the boots or somewhere. So that it looks like a complete outfit. So that’s basically what that refers to. Basically, the integrity of my texture work goes across the entire product, not just one section or one section here or there. It runs across the whole set.
stretching and flat mapping’. Basically you guarantee the user won’t have to worry about how the texture is going to stretch or pull or deform. And if you place a texture on the boot, it’s going to look the same as if you place it on the hat, or the bracer, or on the belt. It’s all going to match. So basically, the scaling of the texturing is also evenly set up throughout the whole outfit. 3DAD: Have you had some good feedback from some of your customers who have explored their own texturing ideas with your content, with your clothing and they’ve said “Hey looked what I’ve done, look at the texture I’ve applied!” Have you seen some good results from that? Sergio: There are quite a few texture artists out there that have done some great texture packages for my work. And I do get their feedback all the time. Some of them have asked me, “Hey, can, you do this differently the next time? Do this or do that?” If I can, I do it, because it helps them and a lot of time their feedback is also important to me. So, I listen to them and I do get their feedback and follow through sometimes. Sometimes I can’t, sometimes I just can’t do what they want and things like that. But if somebody has a product that has been out on the market for like, five, six years and they want me to change something? The change might make sense, but after five, six years, I don’t want to change something on a product that already has a bunch of texture set ups out there. Because if I change it, everything that’s out there now has to be thrown out the door and re-done. So, if it’s a brand new product, I’ll go ahead and do whatever changes I can, but sometimes I just can’t. I try to work with the texture artists and see what I can do to make things easier.
And then, when I talk about the flat mapping with no stretching, that has a lot to do with the software that I use for texturing. For UV mapping, I use Unfold 3D from France, and it gives me perfect flat zero stretching UV maps. So for example, when I create a shirt for Victoria, there’s not going be any stretching on her breast area. As the breasts pull the fabric around and everything, there’s not going to be any stretching there, because it’s laid out flat and this software has a very good algorithm for creating stretch free mapping. So I spend a good amount of time inside this software making sure there’s absolutely no stretching. Or I shouldn’t say absolutely none, but it means 99% of the stretching is gone. That way, if you place a small detail in one area, it doesn’t matter where else you put it on the outfit, it’s going to look exactly the same size, the same proportion, it won’t get pulled or distressed or anything. So that’s what is meant when someone says ‘no mapping, no
3DAD: What’s been the most satisfying product to create, and why would you say it’s been the most satisfying process? 16
Sergio: I love to create these things, so most of the times whatever I’m doing I’m having a blast and having a good time. But what I really like to get challenged sometimes and to try to do outfits as complete as possible. So some of my favorite outfits are the ones that include a lot of details. And sometimes it’s hard because the more details you add, the more layers of clothing you put on, each one of those details will have to rigged, conformed, and everything has to match or you have to apply more to every single one. I do enjoy creating detailed outfits. Like, for example, recently I created a set of Ancient Roman armour and that was a blast. It took me like two months to get it done, because of all the details and all the research that I did. But the end result just blew me away. The guy looks like a real Roman warrior there, standing in your screen, right there. So to me, it was very satisfying to do that type of a product and expand on it and explore different ideas and try to figure out how to implement what they used in the real life and try to make it work in Poser and 3D. 3DAD: That sounds interesting. Was that like a Centurion type clothing? Sergio: It is. It’s basically like an Imperator type of outfit with the Roman tunic underneath and the armour on top, and the helmet with the big plume and the big hair on top and the bracers and the swords and all the accessories. It was a lot of layers, a lot different layers of clothing, one on top of the other. And it turned out really nice. It turned out really well, it turned out really nice. I had to find out the names of the different types of clothing that they wore to give it the proper names. It’s kind of funny because at the beginning, I kind of read through everything, wrote down some notes and I gave everything its name. But by the end of making the outfit, I was like “what the hell is this supposed to be”. I couldn’t 17
Render by Brian (Commorancy at Flickr) using Daz Studio + 3Delight + Xurge3D’s Imperator for M4. Creative Commons.
remember what the different names of the things were relating to. I had to look back in my notes and go: “wait a minute, that’s this! That’s that!” 3DAD: Could you tell readers about the sale you’ve got on at the moment? Sergio: Okay. To find my work and me, just visit www.Xurge3d.com. All my Poser creations are available there, and that new Roman creation I just mentioned. I open way back in 1995, but it’s a clean modern website and easy to find your way around. 3DAD: So you have a big birthday coming in 2015! Twenty years! Sergio: Yep. It’ll be Xurge 3D’s birthday. Although I was around for about another five or ten years before that. When I first started out, I was selling through the Renderosity store. Then from there I really loved what the guys at RuntimeDNA were doing, so I kind of talked to them and then I went straight to their store. Then I sold some more Renderosity, at DAZ, at other venues that have come and gone. Until I decided it was time to open up my own little store and go completely independent and see how that works. And I did. That was in 1995 when I set up as an independent. 3DAD: If readers would like to visit Sergio and his store, he’s got some great products there. You don’t have to wait until 2015 to take advantage of sales, as there’s quite often a big sale going on there. And remember to check out 3DArtLive.com for the details of Sergio’s webinars for 3D Art Live, and see how he creates items from scratch all the way to completion. Thank you, Sergio. Sergio: Thank you, Paul. www.Xurge3d.com 18
This page: render by Brian (Commorancy at Flickr) of Xurge3d.com Paladin Armor for M4. Brian uses Daz Studio + 3Delight. Previous page: Ancient Roman Imperator officer armour, with soldier expansion. Both are available at Xurge3d.com
All renders in this spread are by Brian (Commorancy at Flickr) and show Xurge3d.com armour. Brian uses Daz Studio + 3Delight. Main picture: “Cathedral” (2013). Below, left to right: “Rude Awakening” (2013); and then renders of the Xurge3D ATAC Suit in a Stonemason forest; EX0 and HyperSuit; ATAC Suit; AIU Suit and Hyper Suit; AIU Armor amid Stonemason ruins. See all the pictures in hi-res on Brian’s Flickr sets — seach for: Commorancy at Flickr.
3D Art Direct hops on over to sunny Greece, to interview George Krallis about his 3d work
GEORGE KRALLIS GREECE VUE | 3DS MAX | ZBRUSH | PS | AFTER EFFECTS WEB
the only step in the whole process — I mean when I’m creating 3d scenes, because I also do matte paintings — where I begin to ‘scratch my head’ and start wondering ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do it’ in order to achieve a great result. Of course, Greece is well known for having one of the most clear and sparkling Mediterranean sunlights. So in terms of inspiration, yes the light here has inspired me many times. Many artists have been inspired by the light of Greece, it is a great place for a visual artist to visit in order to find creative inspiration! The light inspires
3DAD: Hi George, thanks for doing an interview with 3d Art Direct magazine. Your pictures have a wonderful command of light, which of course is one of the most important things for a 3d artist to master. Does that perhaps have something to do with you growing up in the clear Mediterranean light of Greece? George Krallis: Hi, and thanks a lot for the interview. Actually having so many great examples around me in real life, that might make it more difficult. Because lighting is
“L’scale” (2013). Created with Vue and a 3ds Max model. DAZ girls. Rendered with Vue and the postwork was done with Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. 23
me especially in regard to some of my forest and jungle scenes, but lighting is of course very important generally in 3d, as you say. But there is no hard and fast rule, as the requirements of the lighting differs according to each image. For instance, I use completely different methods when I have to light a character, than when I have to light a landscape. Or an interior space, or even a commercial product. It takes me some minutes to figure out exactly ‘what kind of lights do I need’ and how to place them. I always try to achieve interesting shadows, since they give extra shapes in the scene.
3DAD: You now run your own advertising company in Greece, Natural CMYK (Street Brokoumi 31, Xanthi, Greece: phone 25410 77829). Xanthi looks like a wonderful place, at least when seen in the pictures on the Internet. But is there much of a market for your work in Greece these days, or do you have to work abroad via the Internet? George: Yes I have my own company, and I’m very satisfied with it so far. Despite the economic crisis here, there are many companies especially here in Greece who want high quality designs. Nonetheless there are some customers and companies —especially
“I always try to achieve interesting shadows, since they give extra shapes in the scene.” 24
from abroad — who always make the excuse that their product is not making a personal profit for themselves, that’s why I must do the job for free or even with very low budget. Of course my answer to them is that I don’t pay my bills with credits and bylines, but with real hard money.
specialised in characters, or in landscapes or anything other single thing. I wanted to become good in everything and I’m still trying. Although I terms of software I’m also specialised in the RealFlow fluid and dynamic materials simulator, and Adobe After Effects for interesting VFX and animations.
The market for my work is something I have to create myself. If I love what I do, and I try hard day-by-day to make it better, I think it’s the secret of success. This is how I’m trying to make the market bigger and bigger all the time. It helps to be a generalist. I didn’t want to become a 3d artist who only
3DAD: What is the general ‘imaginative graphics’ scene in Greece like at the moment? Is there much regard for 3D work? Are there many people in Greece who use 3D to a high level? George: Unfortunately Greece is not the
“A World Beyond Our World, v.2” (2010). Vue and Adobe Photoshop. Towers are the commercial .obj and Vue model ‘Allied Fleets Research Station’. 25
ideal place for a 3d or visual artist to work from, at least if you are in a firm that is only seeking to serve a regional or national market. There are some 3d companies, especially in Thessaloniki and Athens, which are the two biggest urban centres in Greece. But people find that their in-house services are very limited, once they are asked to create animations and VFX, mainly for commercials. Unfortunately Greek cinema is not yet known for the amazing 3d graphics and VFX, actually is not known for them at all. Nonetheless the companies who do the film
jobs have very skilled 3d artists, who can achieve really amazing things. But even so most of these artists find that — to develop their talents — they have to move to other countries with more prospects. I should note that there are also many architectural companies who use 3d artists for visualisations, but only few of those manage to use 3d to a high level. 3DAD: How does visual inspiration come to you? Do you then go ‘straight to the software’, or is there a step where you turn to traditional tools like pencil and paper?
Three works that se
Left: “The Empire” (20 Centre: “Streets of Flor VRay, and Photoshop Storm” (2010). 3ds ma
George: No matter if I have to create a video or a still image, making a storyboard or a rough sketch is always important as a first step. It helps me to have a complete view of the final image or video. Simple lines or shapes can ‘pop up’ very important information for me, they can suggest how to create more dynamic and more interesting shapes in the work. They can also make it easier to create paths which the viewer’s eye will want to follow. I use my Wacom pressure sensitive tablet and stylus with Adobe Photoshop to create these, but when I work
em inspired by Greece:
009). Vue and Photoshop. rence” (2012). 3ds max + p. Right: “Sailing In The ax + Vue, and Photoshop.
at my office and have to design logos for companies I like to become more traditional and will still use my good old pen and paper. 3DAD: How did you learn the varous creative software packages that you use — such as Vue, 3ds max, ZBrush, Photoshop — and then how did you learn to combine them together? George: I first encountered 3ds max, but the interesting part here is how I began with it. It’s what we use to say: that I woke up one morning and said to myself, “I want to become a 3d artist!”. This is actually how it
began, for me! After a couple of years learning and working with 3ds max, many other things attracted my attention. Such as epic landscapes, conceptual character design and costumes, sci-fi vehicles, and many others. I knew I could give a try to create different stuff inside 3Ds max, but then I found applications such as ZBrush for organic sculpturing, and Vue for more realistic terrains and landscapes could also be very handy. I just had to learn these amazing Below: “Dino Hunt” (2008). ZBrush, Vue, Adobe Photoshop. Below: “I’m Home” (2012). ZBrush, 3ds max + VRay, Adobe Photoshop.
applications, after seeing what they can achieve. I’ve watched many video tutorials that helped me to learn all these softwares, but all these would be nothing without personal training. This is an important tip for your readers. Video tutorials can only take you so far. 3DAD: Yes, I tend to fall asleep when watching some of those, especially if the voice work is poor. There are a few long ones, on making matte paintings, which are especially excellent for curing insomnia! Looking back over your creative work over
the past few years, where do you see the main developments and departures happening? I mean: in technique, or general look or mood or settings, or in the ideas? George: I find that first of all I begin with modeling. That was not always the case for me. In earlier years I was not good in modeling at all, and I remember that I spent a long time looking around the web for free 3d models — just to help me improve my scenes. Although it didn’t take too much time for me to realise that if I was to make a
scene that I could feel proud of, then it should be a scene that everything should be created by me, even the smallest thing in it. Of course many other things changed over time, such as the techniques, simply because of the software improvements. Also, new movies come along, and I see new work from other people, I find I’m getting inspired from those sources too. 3DAD: You use a Photoshop plugin I’ve not heard of before: Magic Bullet PhotoLooks by Red Giant. Could you describe to readers what that software brings to your work?
Below: “Neptune” (2012). ZBrush, 3ds max, and Photoshop. Left: “Deep Connection” (2014). ZBrush, 3ds max, Vue (for the barnacles) and Photoshop.
George: Yes Photolooks is actually an ‘all in one’ plug in. It contains many Photoshop effects in one interface and it also comes with many presets. It actually helps me to make my renders and animations look much more organical and realistic. I also like to use it in Adobe After Affects to boost my animations. When I first encountered 3d applications I was wondering ‘what makes a render differs from
“Another Day Away…” (2009). Vue, Poser, Photoshop.
a real photo?’ Because I have seen many good renders, but I knew that they were 3d. Photolooks definitely helps a render to look more like a real photo. 3DAD: Who inspires you from the past? If you could talk to any visual artist from history, who would it be? And why? George: Some artists from the past are not
only a source of inspiration but people that I admire too. Among those I would single out: Ralph McQuarrie; H.R. Giger, Michael Whelan, and Alan Lee. Not only because of the way they visually designed, but also because of the tools they used. They didn’t have the software and hardware we use today, only the old tubular airbrushes and white fabric canvases!
There are many visual artists from history that I would like to talk to, not just one. Today we have the Internet, something that artists before about 1995 didn’t have, so we artists have many sources of inspiration, vastly more than a young artist would have had in the early 1990s. If I was to ask a question of an artist from the past I would like to know ‘what was the source of their
“A World Beyond Our World v.3”. Vue. This shipped as an official sample scene with the retail version of the Vue 2014 software.
inspiration and what techniques they used especially when they began from scratch?’. 3DAD: If you could creatively break one ‘rule’ or ‘convention’ in 3d artwork, what would it be — or what might the result look like? George: I don’t know if I can call it a rule or convention and I have a personal answer.
George is also an accomplished 2D sci-fi matte painter. Above is “1,200 Miles to Go” (2009). See his DeviantArt gallery for more 2d art!
What really bothers me sometimes is the premade models some programmes ship with. I mean some of them such as ZBrush, for example, can give a whole human detailed body as a standard tool, so it’s easier for me to create a human or a creature from that. But it turns out completely different if I have to create it from scratch. Some time ago I didn’t
have any problem to work with free 3d models around the web or with premade software tools, but now this has no point for me at all. On the contrary I think it makes me less capable, and more of a lazy 3d artist. No matter what the result will look like, I won’t feel proud 100% of the final result.
George Krallis on the Web: http://georgekrallis.daportfolio.com/ George as 'GeoGrapcics' on Deviant Art: http://geograpcics.deviantart.com/
3DAD: George, thank you.
“I’ve watched many video tutorials that helped me to learn all these softwares, but all these would be nothing without personal training.” “A World Beyond Our World” (2009). Vue, 3ds max, Photoshop. 33
Available now, as part of your 3D Art Direct Membership!
SUBSCRIPTION AND BACK ISSUE ACCESS Get the NEXT 12 issues | Full Access to Every Premium Online Magazine Published Over 100 In-Depth Interviews | Browse 1800 Pages with Vibrant Galleries Download the PDF files | Bonus Content
Annual Subscription: Cancel at any time http://3dartdirect.com/backissues
Tigaer was born in a place called Wolfen. Yes, really! What better start in life could an artist have, if he wanted to create fantastic concept art showing other worlds? But in reality Tigaer’s childhood home place was very far from being a lush green Game of Thrones type of landscape. It was actually a relic of socialist East Germany, and one of the most polluted towns in the world. Many readers will have heard the old saying that a gritty “rock or die!” place usually
produces the best creative artists, and looking at Tigaer’s work we wouldn’t argue with that. He then moved to an equally gritty nearby town of Bitterfeld, then when he was old enough — back in 2001 — he escaped to live in a big Bavarian city called Nuremberg, where he still lives today. There he became obsessed with learning to harness the full power of Adobe Photoshop 5.5, and how to combine it with the then-emerging 3D landscape software Terragen.
CHRISTIAN HECKER GERMANY VUE | PS XENODREAM | TERRAGEN | WEB
EYE OF TH 36
3DAD: Tigaer, welcome. Did your childhood landscape, with its pollution and industrial decay, contribute to your love of beautiful and inspiring landscapes? Tigaer: That is something I ask myself, every now and then. In the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, it wouldn’t be surprising for someone in East Germany to seek out otherworldly places in order to forget about the socialist system under which you live. But I was just a kid back then, and
had little idea of the politics. The heavy industry I grew up with is kind of mirrored in my megacity pictures. But my main influences me came up after we tore down the Berlin Wall in late 1989. But it was always one of my dreams to ‘live in the future’. 3DAD: Were the science fiction films of the time also an influence? Tigaer: Yes, in the early 1990s I caught up with a lot of movies we were not able to see
"Claim New Worlds" (2014). Xenodream, Vue, Photoshop. “Making of” video.
HE TIGAER 37
until then. Most importantly Star Wars. Later I learned that all the great scenes I really liked in the movies contained something called ‘matte paintings’. I was stunned how photorealistic they could be. A lot of the 1980s sci-fi movies are my inspirations. Blade Runner, for sure! Though I never really thought they would lead me to where I am now. In the late 1990s I got my first PC and started to dig into very basic image editing. Through the magic of the growing Internet I was able to meet some people who
encouraged me to dig deeper. And I’ll be eternally thankful for their support. At first it was Photoshop and basic Web design. Later I started to experiment with 3d a bit, which led me to Terragen. Terragen was probably the best landscape rendering program you could get at that time, for someone who wanted to visualise those types of future landscapes – without needing all the resources of a major film studio. After learning the basics of Terragen I started to combine my renders with Photoshop effects. Specifically, I created a
"From Here I Can Almost See The Stars" (2012). Vue and Photoshop. 38
technique to add real rock textures to my mountains, so as to add more depth and detail to my pieces. I wanted to give them a fantasy look. “Erat”, for example, is how I imagined a place very prominent in The Belgariad book series by David Eddings. I tried to realize what I imagined that place kind of looks, with the help of Terragen and Photoshop. In 2003 this one was a milestone picture for me. It became somewhat popular on Deviantart back then, and motivated me to stay on track with this ‘art stuff’.
“Erat” (2003). Terragen.
3DAD: I remember trying out the first versions of Terragen. Was it powerful enough at the time, to do what you wanted it to do? Tigaer: Hmmm, that took a couple of years. By 2003 Terragen had become a bit more of an artistic tool. Like most promising and affordable 3D software, lots of people started to try to use it. But only a few were skilled enough to show what was really possible with it. 3DAD: Ah, that’s a dangerous moment for fledgling free 3D software. If it gets a bad name among the graphics elite, simply because they only ever see what enthusiastic thirteen year olds try to make with it, then a bad reputation can dog the software for years. But you must have done something right with Terragen, because DeviantArt popped up and asked you to become one of their gallery directors! Tigaer: Yes, that was in early 2004. E.A. Kolb — one of the key admins at DeviantArt back then — asked me if I would be an admin. So I did my duty as gallery director for that beast of site, learning how things worked behind the scenes. I enjoyed my time there. But lots of things have changed at DeviantArt since those early days. I probably wouldn’t take up the same offer today. 3DAD: Then a digital camera arrived in your life. That was back when digital cameras were still relatively new toys, and were only just becoming usable by amateur artists who wanted to create saleable prints. Tigaer: Yes, I had a Minolta dImage 7i first, and that showed me I “had an eye”. I started to make really good pictures with it, and began to use them in my Photoshop works. So I purchased a Canon EOS 20D SLR camera. That was 8.2 megapixels, pictured through a proper lens. Now smartphones have 8 megapixel cameras in them. It’s
amazing how far technology has gone in the last 10 years. Now I’m working with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II SLR, which I bought used a couple of months ago. A very nice piece of hardware. 3DAD: A lot of creative people took that same path with early digital cameras, back then. But you mentioned paintings. Were you developing your painting craft skills at that time, as well as your photography? Tigaer: Oh yes, in digital — I dived very deeply into concept art, graphics techniques, matte paintings. It was mid 2005, when I made my breakthrough picture. I created a picture named “Artificial”, which really made clear that all my learning had paid off and that I made it to some sort of professional level.
3DAD: How was that picture made? Tigaer: In quite a weird manner! It was a very heavy mix of Terragen and Photoshop, and it took 8 weeks to completely finish. It also involved making full walkthrough documentation for the various techniques I used. 3DAD: That’s a very useful tip for readers. When someone is working on a big picture that’s a culmination of a lot of previous research, force yourself to keep a tight record of the steps and processes you use. I know I have recipe sheets and ‘self tutorials’ from years ago, that can still prove useful today.
Previous page: “Artificial” (2005). Terragen and Photoshop. This page: “The Wall” (2005). Terragen and Photoshop.
Because I’ve forgotten the exact steps I used to take to get a certain effect. Tigaer: Doing that speeded things up, too, especially if you make some of your workflow into Photoshop actions. Then I continued to make “The Wall” and “A New Hope”. But I wasn’t happy with it at the time. It was taking too much time to create work of that high quality with my then technique. So I got a Wacom Intuos graphic tablet. 3DAD: That was back in the days when graphics pads were not as advanced as they are now. Was there a learning curve with that first Wacom pad? Tigaer: Well, I had never seriously painted before. I mean, with a brush. But I knew some basics about lighting and shadows, and my framing “eye” had been strengthened and developed by my photography work.
That helped. The pictures that came out of that time — during 2006 — were a strong mix of painting and matte painting. Painting with help of photo plates. I continued to work with photographs and to extend them through paintings. It’s a cool feeling to see all the different things come together when you are working on something creative.
3DAD: Ok, well thanks for that account of your creative and software journey. Let’s now turn to look at some of your more advanced pictures, those which have been made since our magazine’s last interview with you way back in Issue 15. These new pictures were made with the aid of Vue, but let’s talk about your experience of Vue in the context of the pictures.
So the first up is “Foundation” (2012), seen below. Last summer I finished listening to all the audio book prequels that lead up to Asimov’s famous original Foundation sciencefiction trilogy, and so I know exactly where this picture is coming from. It looks like a major amount of work? Tigaer: Actually I would consider this ‘a quickie’! It’s a mashup of my earlier sciencefiction cityscape pictures. Vue gave me a basic render to work on top of. The composition of
the elements did take a lot of work to get right though, as their position kept changing while it was being made. The background does the job, in that it creates enough depth for what I wanted. Most of the attention went on working on the foreground, adding detail. 3DAD: There is also a lot of work in there in terms of placing the lights? Tigaer: Yes, I added masses of lights to suggest even more detail. The lights required quite some time to place correctly in the
scene. Then I tried to add a little more depth, by using some atmospheric glow and haze. To bring a city to life with adding lights and working on the atmosphere are things I really enjoy.
Some other elements in the picture were DAZ city models, though reworked and touched up via Photoshop.
3DAD: Was the spaceship from DAZ stock?
3DAD: Next up is “From Here I Can Almost See The Stars” (2012). This is the picture we’ve used a detail from for this issue’s cover.
Tigaer: No, actually that was custom made for me! Originally it was my concept drawing. My French Luminarium colleague Sebastien Hue managed to create a nice 3D model from my rough drawing. So a big thanks to him!
Tigaer: For this one, I wanted my very own vision of a super cool spaceport, and I also wanted to use a colour palette that I hadn’t worked with before. Technically it’s heavy Vue work again. It started, like so often, playing
“Foundation” (2012). Vue and Photoshop. Building by Stonemason, spaceship by Sebastian Hue. Inspired by the famous Foundation stories of Isaac Asimov. 43
around with objects and atmospheres. I made this great atmosphere that reacted so nicely with my objects. The rendering was broken down into various steps. First the city. Then clouds. Then the spaceships. I still love the Multipass render options in Vue. This makes it rather easy to exchange elements once I was in Photoshop. I also continued to render out smaller parts from Vue, to replace bits I wasn’t happy with. Finally, a lot of fixing, texturing and overpainting in Photoshop.
3DAD: And the final work made it to The Luminarium’s ‘Illuminate IV’ release.
“Halcyon Awaits” (2013). Vue and Photoshop. Buildings are modified Stonemason props.
Congratulations! Next is “Halcyon Awaits”.
Tigaer: Originally I wanted to go for a more fantasy like approach and create something with a big fortress. Because Nuremberg has a castle right here in woods in the middle of the city. But it became a sci-fi picture of a place where people go to have some fun, find peace and enjoy pristine nature. Technically it’s my Vue and Photoshop mixture, which has become a standard technique for me now. 3DAD: So has Terragen now taken a back seat to Vue, in your current work? Tigaer: Terragen is not part of my arsenal
any more. In the meantime Terragen 2 came out and it’s able to produce amazing results, but by the time it came out I had settled on using Vue. Vue gives me all the freedom I need, and the ability to realize the ideas I have in mind. I don’t regret the switch at all. For “Halcyon Awaits” I the mountains I made with a tool called WorldMachine. It’s a great tool for creating terrains and Terragen played a big role in making WorldMachine popular back then. What makes it special are some cool filters that are able to produce some very realistic landscape characteristics. For the structures I used a bunch of DAZ
models and reworked them to my needs. There are some models by the famous Stonemason in there. His models give you a really great starting ground for your ideas. I used Sebastien Hue’s ship model again, the one seen in my “Foundation” (2012). That became the small personal flyers, whizzing in on the right of the picture. The bridge objects I mainly created with Vector and the Text Tool in Vue. It may sound strange to do modelling that way, but hey... it worked! The final version made it into the 2012 E-On Software Environment Competition finals. I’m proud of that, even if it didn’t win anything.
“Terragen is not part of my arsenal any more … by the time Terragen 2 came out, I had settled on using Vue” 45
“Arcady's Epiphany” (2013): draft production render plate 1
“Arcady's Epiphany” (2013). Vue, Xenodream, and Photoshop. 46
“Arcady's Epiphany” (2013): draft production render plate 2
3DAD: In “Arcady’s Epiphany” (2013) you bring another new software to your work, the fractal software Xenodream. It certainly makes for a very striking composition. It has that ‘special something’ that I look for in space art, that fresh ‘sense of wonder’ you sense when reading the classic 1950s literary science fiction like Asimov. Tigaer: The picture was made for the Luminarium’s “Adventure” challenge. Here I was playing around with Xenodream and its fractals. It can export fractals to a 3D format and they easily import into Vue. Again I used the Multipass options of Vue to make lots of renders and stitch it all together in the Photoshop process. A lot of work went into making everything fit and creating a nice depth. I was doing what the best Hollywood matte artists do, constantly zooming out to the thumbnail size to make sure the visual silhouette of the picture is still ‘readable’ — I really wanted this to be an eye-catching picture that worked even as a thumbnail. I also gave a lot of attention to the colour work. It certainly has its weak spots, but I never get tired looking at it. 3DAD: “Claim New Worlds” (2014) is in the same style, strong colourful, fractal based. It’s the lead picture for this interview. Tigaer: Yes, this was my first picture of 2014. Although it felt like it might take the whole year to render! Vue needed 298 hours – 33 minutes – 22 seconds to render the cloud pass. Even my test render wasted eight hours. The final production render turned out to be the longest render I’ve ever had. I’ll never do that again! And I had to keep my machine running until the render finished. Of course, I had just thought “Hey, there’s some room for volumetric clouds to spice it up a bit...”. In Vue you can turn down the quality quite a bit with the clouds still looking perfectly fine. So I turned the quality down and it still needed almost 300 hours to render. But my four year old PC eventually got the job done. Luckily
four years ago I really invested some time into getting the right parts for that PC. So it never disappointed me when it came to rendering, never crashed on me when I needed it to work. 3DAD: You must have been really happy when you had that final render. Tigaer: Oh yes! But after a couple of days looking at the render, it started to look boring! Pressure! But then I started to create and make the actual scene. The Photoshop work proved to be a lot of fun, overpainting and refining. When it came to the clouds, the base render gave me a good starting point to move on from. I have all sorts of ideas about what these shapes actually are. But I leave it to the reader’s imagination and really hope they enjoy the view. 3DAD: Your most recent 3d picture “Lightroom” (2014) is an interior, a return to a similar style you explored in “Room With A View” (2013). Tigaer: For this I was playing around with vector shapes I had imported into Vue. In my recent projects I use a lot of vector shapes for some basic 3d modelling. I create shapes in Photoshop and save the shapes as a .bmp. Then I load the .bmp into Inkscape to create a vector shape with Inkscape’s tracing plugin to save it then as a .eps file. Somehow it’s not possible to make Vue-compatible vectors if they’re created with Photoshop. That’s why I always have to go through Inkscape. Time consuming, but it works and gets the job done. Again Vue’s Text tool (which is used to import the vector into Vue) allows for a lot of creativity. The lady is done with DAZ Studio, but then modified in Vue and Photoshop. 3DAD: You had a new PC very recently, I understand? Tigaer: Yes, “Lightroom” is also the first picture I did on my new PC setup and I think it’s a great start. This picture became part of the Kibernetik exhibit by The Luminarium.
"Room With A View" (2013). Vue and Photoshop.
"Lightroom" (2014). Vue, Inkscape, DAZ Studio, and Photoshop.
3DAD: Did you specify your new PC’s components again, so that it’s more useful for your work? Are you planning on any GPU rendering, for instance? Tigaer: Again I took quite some time and trouble to find the right components. I think it was six months before I started to buy the first parts. I felt kind of sad to leave my old machine behind, since it’s done so much great work for me. But I needed more RAM and a stronger CPU. No, there’s no GPU rendering for me. But I can see how GPU rendering will go
somewhere interesting in the next 10 years. It’s amazing what real-time videogame engines such as Unreal Engine, Frostbite or CryEngine can do with complex fantasy and sci-fi scenes today. 3DAD: Yes, and Lumion is also a good front end into real-time rendering for landscapes, for those who don’t want to tinker with the intricacies of game engines. Tigaer, thank you.
Tigaer is online at: tigaer.deviantart.com/
NACHO RIESCO GOSTANZA PORTUGAL ZBRUSH | PS | MANDELBULB3D | WEB
ZBrush artist Nacho Riesco talks to 3D Art Direct 3DAD: We are very happy to have with us today illustrator/concept designer Nacho Riesco, Nacho welcome to 3D Art Direct! NR: Thanks a lot for giving me this chance to be part of your amazing magazine. I have seen so many great artists in your pages. I am very happy to be one of them. 3DAD: You have quite the body of work with ZBrush as well as Mandelbulb3d, at what age did you begin creating? NR: I think that I’ve had an interest the arts since I was able to hold a pencil! I started creating more serious stuff when I was seventeen. At that age I used to build and paint scale models and figures. I entered a modeling competition where I won an air compressor, afterwards I bought an airbrush and began experimenting with airbrushing, and I took to it immediately. I began creating several illustrations which lead to some independent commissions. This was my passion for some time. That is until I
discovered the power of the computer and what could be done artistically, I was amazed... first with Photoshop than ZBrush. Later I discovered Mandelbulb3d, I was in heaven!! 3DAD: Your work touches on many genres. Sci-Fi, fantasy, abstract, realism, pretty much everything. Where do you draw your inspirations from? NR: My inspiration, as with most of last generation’s artists, came from modern visual arts such movies and comics. I love fantasy and sci-fi genres, that’s the root of my inspirations as an artist. I love to design monsters and characters the most. I am not a big fan of superheroes or manga. My main inspiration comes more from more traditional fantasy masters such as Frank Frazetta, and current ones as Bisley and Brom. It's difficult to make a list or summarize all of them, art is everywhere. I take it all in. 3DAD: We see in your gallery many 3d models, both organic as well as various objects such as jewellery and vehicles. What’s your main modeling application? NR: My main, and only, 3d application for modeling in ZBrush. I love it for its artistic philosophy. Once you start using it, you're able to create from the first day. I've been trying to learn other 3d apps, but they require a different skill set of concepts and theory to use them. The learning curve is very steep.
Picture: ZBrush sculpt
from Nacho’s Wolverine tutorial, available online. 51
I am interested in branching out to other applications in the future, but for now I am very much a ZBrush artist. 3DAD: What was your first impressions of ZBrush’s user interface, which many new users find it difficult to find their way around. Was this the case with you? NR: Well, I teach the software for different applications, such as jewellery or digital sculpting. So from my point of view I find it friendly to use. The interface is focused on the creation process, so it has several floating menus and a visual toolbar layout. But the concept of ZBrush 3d space is a bit confusing for newcomers, because you are working on a 2d canvas, but models can be turned on 2.5d objects. That's strange at the beginning. From a person who comes from other 3d packages, navigation and menus are very different form "the standards", so it can be difficult to get used to it. Yes I think that it could be a bit unnatural at first, but it's an amazing tool for creation and worth learning. 3DAD: During one of your summer teaching sessions 'ZMike' was born. Great character... full of personality. Tell our readers a bit about this guy. NR: I love that character! On the summer courses I teach ZBrush from the basic level on up. I like to design the exercises based on quick and easy techniques to get the main foundation developed in my students. Avoiding starting with big projects which can easily frustrate students, this of course would deter their desire to learn. So ZMike was a great objective to learn from. How to create and compose its basic shapes than into texturing and rendering techniques. 3DAD: You have several other pieces using FiberMesh, what advice would you give our ZBrush readers who are working with this? NR: FiberMesh is a cool new feature of ZBrush, it allows you to make several things,
not just hair or fur but even objects such as leaves, grass, tentacles.. really amazing things. It has a bunch of controls, curves and parameters to tweak, so it's important to understand concepts of what they do. After this they can do a lot of experimenting. Trial and error could be the best way to learn your own style and work flow. Basically I could say to my class, when you are designing a furry character, don't apply the same fur settings over all the surface, create different fur areas, combine long and short fibers on the body, and create specific setting for parts as face, ears etc. This will create a more realistic look with this variation. Don't forget to set the Segments and Profile controls, they will give you a very different look to each of your fiber layers. If it helps, there is a specific FiberMesh Basics Tutorial I wrote some time ago: "A Thorough Introduction to ZBrush's FiberMesh". 3DAD: "Robot Repairing" is an exceptional piece. What got the ball rolling on this?
NR: Thanks!, that piece, like many others, was planned as a 2D illustration I started with two separate elements... two robots. The floor and chains are 3D meshes, which were rendered using different materials and light settings. The background is a photograph that was composed in Photoshop, finally to get the final atmosphere several layers were added on top. I am very happy with this piece. 3DAD: “RoboBall” features a similar character and materials. Tell our readers a bit about its construction. NR: The process was similar to the original, I applied all the materials in different renders. I think that most interesting thing about how to achieve those metal materials was using some of the material modifiers. Adding a surface bump texture. This is easy to do: import a texture image as an alpha and select it in the Surface Bump picker, now set
Previous page: Variations on “Alienhead” (2010-12). ZBrush, Keyshot, Photoshop. Opposite page: “Robot Repairing” (2011). Photoshop composite 2D background from photo reference, ZBrush, Photoshop. This page: “RoboBall” (2011). ZBrush, Photoshop. “Hammerhead” (2013). ZBrush, Photoshop. “Borg R2”. ZBrush, Photoshop.
Column, from top: “Demenio R3” (2011); “Enemy of God” and “AntiPope — Death Metal music festival poster” (2011); “Mini Demon” (2011). All ZBrush and Photoshop.
Main: “Abstract Alien Head” (2010). Sculptris, ZBrush, Photoshop. 57
the Canvas Bump and Canvas Bump Scale controls. Finally modeling of the character and ball was pretty simple, most of them are composed using primitive 3D meshes — made in ZBrush of course. 3DAD: I see a lot of alien characters in your galleries. "AlienHead2" really stands out, great sculpt textures. You mention on your post of this image that KeyShot was used. Walk us through your creative process when working in multiple applications. NR: I try to improve my overall rendering by making the renders more convincing. I was searching for different settings, as well as render engine to create what I was looking for. Then I discovered Keyshot. It is an amazing rendering software based on HDR
“M3D29” (2010). Mandelbulb3d.
lighting. This software is becoming very popular because it gives you impressive results with its default settings, making impressive results fairly easy out of the box. The best way to create outstanding images is combining elements created in different applications. ZBrush, Keyshot and PH for example. I love to create and export the textures from ZBrush and apply them in Keyshot. This is also very simple to do. You just have to use the UV Master Plugin to create your UV Maps, after that the Multimap Exporter Plugin to export the polypainting. Once in Keyshot import and apply your UV Maps. If you want to achieve realistic renders and boost up your image, include an external renderer to your workflow. The ideas are endless.
3DAD: "Abstract AlienHead" is another nice alien sculpt that you have been tinkering with. How did this project begin? Do you see any 'finished piece' for this one? NR: It is just a concept at the moment, ZBrush is a very powerful concept building tool, you can start creating, from your mind directly to the canvas and materialize your concepts in 3D very quickly. This is a very good example of this, just fixing shapes and volumes and the character just flows out. Someday I would like to revisit this project. Soon I hope.
NR: Wow! This is a very old piece! I when I was just starting off with ZBrush. I used a technique called Crop & Fill, consists of loading an image as an Alpha and use it to fill the canvas, white, black and grey tones are used as a depth map. Afterwards you can transform to begin sculpting using the 2.5D brushes. I then added more meshes as the skull, then finally the eye. In this particular example, I used an amazing software called Alchemy, you can create impressive random images using Alchemy. 3DAD: Another intense image is "Abandoned". A nice grimy mood in this.
3DAD: "ZBSinister". The level of detail is off the charts on this one. Tell us a bit about this piece.
NR: This illustration is one of my most popular on DeviantArt. All the forms and
â€œM3D53â€? (2010). Mandelbulb3d.
Top: “Marinarte Fractal” (2012); “M3D46” (2010); “M3D38” (2010); M3D112 (2011); “M3DB1” (2011). Main: “M3D55” (2011). 60
This page: “MD3111” (2011). Opposite: M3D1b (2011). Both Mandelbulb3d. 62
volumes were sculpted as separate pieces, there are no more than five individual pieces. All those 3d meshes were composed on a 2.5d canvas. I then rendered them with different material passes, and composited everything in Photoshop. 3DAD: As I mentioned earlier, you certainly leave no genre untouched. Your Wolverine tutorial / work-in-progress features more topnotch sculpting and alpha work, this time with a human face. Tell our readers a bit about this project, how it began and where it’s going.
DeviantArt, I was impressed with those fractal images their complexity and atmosphere. So I started asking the different fractal artists what applications are you guys using? Many thanks to Mark and James, who guided me to this amazing program. They helped me get started until I was able to render my own fractals. It
NR: This character was created for be part of tutorial for one of my ZBrush courses. I have to say that is the first time I had a go with fan art sculpting, as I said before, I'm not a fan of superheroes. The initial idea was to sculpt a bust. Which I than could explain step-by-step how it was done, not too difficult, but eye catching. As you mentioned it shows different sculpt stages such as face and surface detailing with alphas. Nowadays he is still sitting waiting to be textured and I would like to render him soon... in Keyshot of course! 3DAD: We see you recently launched your new website. Lots of great work and resources, superb layout and design. Congratulations! NR: Thanks! I am glad you like it!. In today's world it is very important to have as much exposure on the Internet as you can. It is also very important to be involved on different online communities, to be in touch with other artists, publish your work to receive and give criticism. This is a very good way to learn and improve. There are several Web places with amazing artists and lovely people to share your art. 3DAD: We talked about your work with ZBrush now we see a lot of Mandelbulb3d in your gallery. Created my Jessie of Fractal Forums this program has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years. What got you into Mandelbulb3d? NR: I discovered Mandelbulb 3D on
“Cyclops R2” (2011). ZBrush, Photoshop. Photocomposite/painted background. Stock 3D tree models.
was a real addiction, it is an amazing way to boost your imagination. Discovering and creating fantastic places. This is a great escape for the mind. Getting lost in a Mandelbulb3d world is easy to do. 3DAD: "m3db1" really shows off some of the features that Mandelbulb3d offers. Excellent fog and mix of light in this. What’s your approach when working in Mandelbulb3d? 64
NR: Well, I don't have a vast knowledge of the formulas, so basically I started from a default one and start tweaking parameters until I start to get an interesting form. Then it’s a matter of using the navigation tools to discover interesting places and views to render. The render options are amazing, I
NR: All are custom formulas, but I don't build them knowing how to adjust each exact parameter. I prefer to navigate through the fractal. I have this piece hanging on my studio, it has 120x85cm printed on clear methacrylate. I had it printed for an exhibition of modern art in my home town. I looked for a bright fractal with a powerful light source that caught the viewer's attention, and drew people in. 3DAD: Nacho you have done very well establishing yourself as a freelance digital artist. What advice would you give a up and coming artist who is working towards doing this full-time? NR: Well, I'm still fighting every day to establish myself as a freelance artist. I would say it is important to have passion and believe in what you are doing is the best way to grow as an artist. This is the best way to move forward, investigating and experimenting all the time to improve and enhance your skills. Listen to your gut and follow your thoughts. 3DAD: Thank you for stopping by and speaking with us Nacho, we look forward to your next piece and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors! NR: Thanks so much to you and 3DAD. I am very proud to be a part of this amazing art resource that is 3D Art Direct. And thanks to all readers, I hope I've been useful. Remember follow your dreams! Nacho on DeviantArt: http://nachoriesco.deviantart.com/
like to try several different options tweaking the atmosphere and lighting creating a sense of depth, etc. In Photoshop I like to add extra touches to finalize the image. Some effects, levels tweaks, and so on.
Nacho’s DA Portfolio:
3DAD: "Marinarte Fractal" is an explosive show of light and materials. Was this a custom formula in Mandelbulb3d?
Nacho on Shadowness:
http://nachoriesco.daportfolio.com/ Nacho’s WIX website: http://riesconacho.wix.com/ilustracion
The MojoWorld software doesn't just create bits of landscapes, it creates entire planets via the power of generative fractal based 3d world creation. More versatile and fun than software such as comparable versions of Bryce and Vue, Pandromeda Inc.'s MojoWorld 3 (2006) was the last supported version â€” but even today the software still has an eager user community. 3d Art Live ran a Mojolive webinar for users in 2013.
3d Art Direct talks to an accomplished MojoW
JAMES WEBB GERMANY MOJOWORLD WEB
World landscape artist
3DAD: We are very happy to have with us today MojoWorld artist James Webb, James welcome to 3d Art Direct. JW: Thank you! Itâ€™s my pleasure to do this interview with 3d Art Direct. 3DAD: If obvious by looking at your work that you are a big sci-fi fan, at what age did you first realize your interest in this genre? JW: Even as a young boy I have been interested in science and astronomy. I often imagined what the environments might look on other planets and moons.
I was fascinated with other images I was seeing in magazines and in the cinema.
3DAD: Before you were introduced to MojoWorld did you experiment with other applications? If so what were they?
3DAD: You have a very unique style, what got you interested in creating and what mediums did you start off with?
JW: My first experiments were with photomontages, which looked similar to the MojoWorld pictures. Later I started JW: My unique style I refer to as â€˜The Scientific experimenting with image processing on my PC. Viewâ€™. My planets I imagine to be photographs Using Photoshop and Ulead PhotoImpact. I then from a team of explorers discovering the worlds I picked up the landscape software Terragen create, always with the view to the horizon to Classic, but it was never convincing enough for capture as much of the terrain as possible. I my sci-fi needs. I then discovered the ingenious prefer strange worlds with toxic atmospheres, MojoWorld. Finally I was able to present my alien worlds incapable of supporting life forms. Most of worlds the way that I had always imagined them! the planets in the universe are like this.
3DAD: When was it that you discovered MojoWorld?
JW: Confused UI? This was not the case with me personally. I picked up this program very quickly. Actually I was quite amazed at how JW: MojoWorld I discovered in 2002, by simply quickly I was able to create amazing sci-fi browsing images of alien worlds on the imagery with little effort. For me, it was soon Internet. I than came across Pandromeda Inc. clear MojoWorld was my thing, what I have site, the makers of MojoWorld. been looking for. Even my wife really liked the 3DAD: MojoWorld has a very unique User renders I was doing, so she soon started to use Interface (UI) that leaves many new users the software as well. I was blown away that I confused. The developer Ken Musgrave had found a random world generator like previously worked at MetaCreations, famous for MojoWorld. So many building blocks created quirky interfaces on some software. What was infinite combinations, to create alien worlds. your impression of the MojoWorld UI? Where There are complex sections such as the there any struggles early on?
Function Graph and specific parameters, but Dymtry Lavrov’s Volumetric plugins which are due to free files from other Mojonauts (as Mojo at http://dmytry.com/MojoWorld/. Users are known), I was able to get this 3DAD: “Mond Iresan” is a classic MojoWorld problem solved quickly. render. Very unique composition in this. What 3DAD: MojoWorld comes with many stock got you started creating this planet? planets, what where some of your favorites to explore? JW: The many planets that shipped with the software are all good and very useful for the creation of alien worlds. But there are so many that inspired me, I don’t know where to start.
3DAD: MojoWorld.org and Mojovox were a great way for Mojonauts to communicate, back in early 2000s. Many artists benefit from the forum interactions. Was this the case with you? JW: Yes this was the case with me also! Back then and even to this day. Today MojoWorld.org is very quiet. Most of today’s Mojo users are over at Renderosity. My time is limited nowadays, however every free moment I have I am looking at Mojo works at Renderosity, as well as continuing to create new worlds. 3DAD: Who were some of the artists that inspired you early on? JW: There was so many back in the days of Mojo, some I regret I have since forgotten. Some that I will never forget are Armands Auseklis, Alex Nico, Lewis Moorcroft and Lumi. They were the best. Really amazing work. 3DAD: You have an impressive body of MojoWorld work displayed on your website at http://www.xynedia.de/. Despite the software’s lack of development it seems you haven’t given up your passion for this application. MojoWorld last update was 2006! So what keeps you so motivated? JW: My motivation comes from the application itself, its still very powerful. It’s very sad, that it is no longer developed. It is so perfect for creating alien worlds. For me it still runs ok, I just keep making new worlds with it. In particular through the Morph Grid module and
JW: “Mond-Iresen” or “Iresan Moon” is one of my first experiments with MojoWorld. It all was created around the ringed planet. That’s what I created first using the moon editor.
3DAD: MojoWorld has a great lighting package that can still stand toe-to-toe with today’s applications. “Moon KP-99” is a great example. Excellent sunset. Tell our readers a bit about its construction. JW: On this picture I experimented with a very low atmosphere and a corresponding position of the sun on the horizon. Here this great play of light came and so I built the image further. The curious thing is that, long below the horizon is the sun itself, so the dark landscape. The green planet and the other associated
â€œMy dream would be to create a MojoWorld image of 12 x 8 metre size, which is possible thanks to the tile rendering in MojoWorld.â€? 71
moons had to be properly placed to create this 3DAD: Working with a global model really strange world. This world is also one of my makes it easy to get tons of depth in a render. first works with MojoWorld. “Mond-Xenomenia” is a fine example, with nice voronoi displacements in the foreground. Are 3DAD: “Mond Klesatus” is a great alien desert displacements like this easy to create? scene. Again the lighting really works well in this. Talk us through this one. JW: The crack in the landscape is not a shift but was created with the parameters ‘Square JW: I have to say you are really picking some Bomb’, there is another land texture that was of my first works. (laughing). The focus is used, it was then tilted 90 degrees to the mainly on the far moon, because on Klesatus ground so the crack was in the field. The lunar there’s weathering on its dense sanding terrain was created with ‘Value Perlin’ and elements. So the whole scene is through that ‘Voronoi’. Some shifts are easy to create and dark atmosphere, very dark, like a big alien others are very complex and time consuming desert. For the gas giant Klesura I have to accomplish. Displacements are used to experimented with color gradient, hence the create an ideal tool to make complex terrains, green color tones. I am still very happy with as you can see this on many of my pictures. this early piece.
3DAD: Monoliths are a big hallmark for MojoWorld, “Planet Marasien-2” is a great example. Awesome alien structures and colors really come together in this. Tell or readers a bit about its creation.
3DAD: The land editor in MojoWorld is very powerful and flexible. The “Planet Martilus” terrain is pretty wild. What’s it like working with the land editor? Do you find it easy to use?
JW: For me personally, the land editor is easy to JW: “Planet Marasien-1” and “-2” are one of my use, particularly because the different stock first displacement experiments. First I created terrain models have logical names and the the planetary landscape, than the atmosphere, multiple preview render is very convenient. The sunlight, clouds, then finally the moons. Then I terrain on the “Planet Martilus” is still quite easy started with the colours of the planets to create. The basic terrain arose from only a landscape. With sparse convolution and slight tweak of factory setting, with some displacements I can create extreme sculptures, additional perlin displacement, nothing more. the best example of this is the pictures in my 3DAD: At the time of Mojo’s release Function series “Planet Philomena”, as well as pictures of Graphs were a very new concept, and either Planets Goldura, Kupfina and Zinkorina. fascinated or confused the heck out of users. 73
Since they were introduced Function Graphs — or now ‘nodes’ — have become central to many of today’s biggest software packages. What other node based applications have you experimented with? How do they compare to MojoWorld’s Function Graph? JW: Function Graphs are fascinating to me because they are essential in creating complex environments. An example: “Planet Plasmaja”. Here I used the function graph to generate solar plasma. But working in the Function Graph can be very difficult to learn. It took a lot of practice to feel comfortable working with complex graphs, so many thanks to all my fellow Mojonauts for sharing their Function Graph based saved worlds. I was able tweak some of the parameters and see how those worlds reacted. A good example is the “Planet Disak” with its colored atmosphere. At other programs, I have used Terragen in version 2, which was node based. Similar to MojoWorld’s Graphs, but I prefer Mojo much more than Terragen. 3DAD: You mentioned Terragen v2. You have done some nice work with this application. One that sticks out is a collaborative project you did with Terraproject http://www.terraproject.de/ & http:// www.terragen-masters.de/ named “Planet Staubitares” with pretty wild terrace/stratified terrain. How was that created? JW: Terragen v2 is without a doubt a great program, but I came so quickly to my limits with it. That’s due to the very complex nodes required to create displacements in it. Also the complicated RenderPreview render settings are very difficult to understand. That's why I gave up on Terragen 2. I also took my few Terragen renders off various sites on the internet, so I can not say anything about the image you mention, since it no longer exists. Ingenious artists such as efflux are able to create similar worlds to MojoWorld with Terragen 2 and 3. Too bad the Terragen is not structured in the same way as MojoWorld.
3DAD: Another Terragen collab was with 3d Art Direct’s issue 31 artist Andy Welder. “Sedaguna”. This image certainly has a Mojo vibe to it. The twin moons and planet help with this. The lighting steals the show. Does MojoWorld’s lighting package compare to Terragen? Is one better than the other? JW: Terragen has the lead in terms of sun lighting, where it is better than MojoWorld. This is because of the lack of further development of MojoWorld after 2006. Terragen’s GI (global illumination) and real multiple suns with real multiple shadows is what MojoWorld is sadly lacking. 3DAD: Over the years you have created many works using both Terragen and MojoWorld, so what advice would you give someone new to 3d computer graphics? JW: Everyone has to find the suitable program that fits them. I found MojoWorld and also the fractal explorer in KPT5 (Kai's Power Tools 5). Important is a well-ordered collection of files, for a smooth workflow. 3DAD: James, thanks so much for taking the time to sit and discuss your work. We wish you luck in all your future endeavors. JW: I also thank you for choosing me for the interview. I'm sure I will have more interesting MojoWorlds to follow in the near future. My dream would be to create a MojoWorld image of 12x8 metre size, which is possible thanks to the tile rendering in MojoWorld. Danke! James Webb: http://www.xynedia.de/ Pandromeda’s MojoWorld: http://www.pandromeda.com/ MojoWorld’s Official Forums: http://www.MojoWorld.org/ MojoWorld at Renderosity: http://goo.gl/XoKKrb
TO START RENDE
MAKE A MOON IN MOJ
ERING, CLICK THE CAMERA ICON ON THE TOP MENU
Interested in MojoWorld? Our 3d Art Live site has a full webinar available for download! http://3dartlive.com/recorded-webinars/mojolive/
Although no longer supported, and effectively abandoned, MojoWorld 3 will run on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. There is also an Apple Mac version. Quicktime is required for rendering animations. 79
Background picture: Tigaer (Christian Hecker), “Foundation”
INDEX Issue 38/39
Sergio Martinez |
Christian Hecker | Tigear
Deedee Davies Issue 26
Dave De Kerf
Issue 36 Matthew Attard Tobias Richter
Issue 20 Matthew Attard
Tim Haaksma |
Maxime des Touches
New World Contest
Dragos Jieanu Issue 19
Jan Walter Schielp
Shaen William |
('Walli') and Frank
DIRE T Mirek Drozd
Jeff Hindmarch |
MojoWorld and Groboto
Tutorial: Create a
Bjorn Malmberg Ryan Malone
Jack Tomalin Issue 11
Jacob Charles Dietz
Neil Thacker Les Garner | Sixus 1
Juan Rodriguez Issue 10
Jacob Charles Dietz
Tutorial: Vue procedural
Bradley W. Schenck
GET ALL BACK
City Engine review
Groboto 3 review
Warren Turner 81
ISSUES for just $35!
FREEBIES EACH ISSUE 3D Art Direct will boldly seek out new 3d freebies in sci-fi and fantasy, then test them to make sure they work. This issue, half of our candidate freebies actually failed the tests! So here are just the very best three, each illustrated with a basic â€˜real worldâ€™ test render to show what actually loaded up in our DAZ Studio 3 testbed software. Licence: All the freebies here are licenced in the usual way: you are permitted to make royalty-free renders for any commercial or non-commercial use. Disclaimer: We can't promise that the Web links on this page will live forever, or that the maker or store won't decide to put their freebie on sale in the future. So grab them while you can!
Skywing by Vale Creatures Verdict: A useful and cute little puppy, with fantasy wings! Packaged for DAZ and Poser, as a standard runtime. Nice modelling and small details, lovely textures. Skywing even comes with a handy range of preset poses. We hope to see more from Vale in the future!
DIRECT! Bruckner Typhoon Aircar by McGyver. Verdict: Your flying car has arrived at last! Packaged for DAZ and Poser, as a standard runtime. Comes with a variety of Poser MAT files offering a very wide range of paint and metal finishes. A number of the carâ€™s parts can move, and there are even reclining padded leather seats in the carefully modelled cockpit. Enjoy the ride!
Wraith Raider by Herminio Nieves Verdict: A sharp bio-inspired design, with more than a touch of the famous Syd Mead in the styling. Packaged as an .obj with textures and a valid materials .mtl file. The model imported correctly as an .obj into Daz Studio 3, with basic textures loading up from their default directory. As is usual when importing .obj models, you may find it needs to be scaled either up or down to fit on the stage.
NEXT ISSUE: JULY 2014 Back cover: "Extrasolar: Maelstrom" (2012) by Bjorn Malmberg of Sweden (Ariel-X on DeviantArt). Scene custom made in Hexagon, Xurge suit, Vue with Photoshop postwork. http://ariel-x.deviantart.com/gallery/ 84
In depth interviews of 3D digital artists in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Double Issue!